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Connexion One Tested for Inflight Mobile Communications

QUALCOMM Incorporated and Connexion by Boeing are working together to test and demonstrate in-flight wireless communications aboard Connexion One, a specially equipped Boeing 737-400 aircraft.

The companies have performed a series of test flights that successfully demonstrated the simultaneous use of CDMA and GSM mobile phone technology over an on-board network with infrastructure and integration support from UTStarcom.  Using standard cellular communications, a small in-cabin CDMA2000 and GSM “picocell,” or small cellular base station, is connected to the worldwide terrestrial network by an air-to-ground satellite link provided by the Connexion by Boeing high-speed airborne network. 

Passengers on the test flight were able to use BREW®-based data applications via QUALCOMM’s BREW solution.  The BREW solution enables users to download business applications, 3D games, information and communication applications such as email and instant messenger wirelessly, over the air.  Passengers also downloaded and watched video clips and made phone calls on a variety of mobile devices including 3G mobile phones.  The data tests were conducted over CDMA2000 1X and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO and voice calls were made over CDMA2000 and GSM.

“According to an October 2004 report, CSP Associates estimates the penetration rate of mobile phones for passengers in the United States is approximately 70 percent and expected to rise to 90 percent in the next three years,” said Paul Guckian, senior director of technology for QUALCOMM. “The cellphone is quickly becoming the most personal information and entertainment device today, and passengers want to make the best use of travel time by accessing business and entertainment applications while in-flight.  QUALCOMM and Connexion by Boeing are cooperating to make this capability a reality”

“Connexion by Boeing is committed to providing evolutionary new wireless services that provide passengers with additional choices for how to communicate while airborne, while also providing air carriers with a competitive edge within in the industry,” said David Friedman,  vice president of marketing and direct sales for Connexion by Boeing.  “What makes the Connexion system so unique is its capability to provide high-speed connectivity and entertainment services with a bandwidth that can support simultaneous data activity to a large number of passengers who board commercial aircrafts every day carrying mobile phones.” 


QUALCOMM and Connexion by Boeing will continue to perform research and development supporting the feasibility of in-flight mobile telephony and evaluate the potential for interference from multi-technology picocell networks and mobile phones to other aircraft systems and terrestrial networks. 

Safety is a top priority and it is with this in mind that QUALCOMM and Connexion by Boeing have committed to research and testing to ensure there is no potential for interference with both aircraft systems and terrestrial networks.  Working in close collaboration with Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the testing, which began in May 2005, will continue through September 2005.